GRANT PARK SUMMER SHADE FESTIVAL
STORY: Claire Ruhlin
Perhaps one of the best times to stroll through Grant Park’s rolling, leafy grounds is during its annual Summer Shade Festival, which celebrates the historic site with music, artwork, food and plenty of spirit.
“I think the sense of community found throughout Grant Park helps to position Summer Shade as one of the more unique events in Atlanta,” says John Dance, 2018 Grant Park Summer Shade cochair. “From the families who live in the area, to those who come here for work and visitors from outside the city, there’s an unparalleled camaraderie found here.”
The event celebrates 16 years this August, when Atlanta’s oldest park will come alive with two stages of live music throughout the weekend, along with food trucks and an art market featuring works by more than 200 artists. Guests can also participate in a 5K run through the neighborhood, which includes a tot trot and a stroller race. For younger visitors, the festival will include a Kids Zone, which includes a Spider Jump, craft activities (most of which are free) and kid-friendly live performers, musicians and storytellers.
While the festival is free, guests have the option to purchase tickets to the VIP Lounge, a private tent offering complimentary food, wine, Monday Night Brewing craft beer and the signature Summer Shade Cocktail.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Grant Park Conservancy, which works to maintain and restore historic Grant Park. “We’re working to preserve and improve the park around which this incredibly dynamic neighborhood and section of the city revolves,” says Michelle Blackmon, executive director of the Grant Park Conservancy. “With all the growth and development— which is very exciting— happening right now, it’s critical that citizens work together through a group like ours to protect the park while preparing it to welcome and serve even more people.”